Supreme Court Won't Hear District's Appeal of Hatikvah Decision
The school board was trying to appeal an Appellate Court decision made in December.
The New Jersey Supreme Court said last week that it would not hear an East Brunswick Board of Education appeal regarding the Hatikvah International Academy Charter School.
District officials filed documents in Appellate Court in April seeking to overturn former Education Commissioner Bret Schundler’s decision to approve the school because it did not meet enrollment requirements at the time. In December, the court said the school met all enrollment requirements before opening in 2010 and that subsequent dips in enrollment before the actual opening were not grounds to revoke the charter.
The district attempted to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, but on March 26, the court rejected the petition for appeal.
"While the board has not yet discussed the impact or implications of the Supreme Court’s action, the board is disappointed that the Supreme Court declined review. We believe the court had the opportunity to clarify that former Commissioner Schundler was required to follow his department’s own regulations. We feel that this case presented issues not only important to East Brunswick but to similarly-situated districts throughout the state," said East Brunswick Board of Education President Todd Simmens.
According to the December decision, the school board was urging the court “to revoke Hatikvah's charter and remand the matter to the commissioner to set a timetable for it to wind down its operations, or take other steps as a result of Hatikvah's purportedly deficient application.”
"We are extremely grateful to the Supreme Court for seeing through this baseless case and upholding our right to provide an excellent educational option for the parents in our community who are interested in a high quality dual language experience," said Hatikvah Board Member and spokeswoman Pam Mullin.
According to the Decemer decision, Hatikvah submitted evidence in June 2010 that it had 100 East Brunswick resident students enrolled – 44 in kindergarten, 38 in first grade, and 18 in second grade. There was also a waiting list for kindergarten of 9 East Brunswick residents and 24 non- residents, as well as non-residents enrolled in the other grades to fill the remaining spaces, totaling 97 out of l08 students, or 90 percent.
Two months later, according to a correspondence between Hatikvah and the commissioner’s office, enrollment dipped to approximately 100 students, 89 from East Brunswick. The school also reported that it had a waiting list for kindergarten and an out-of-town waiting list for first and second grade, which were sufficient to fill the remaining eight spots, according to the decision.
That dip is part of the reason for the court’s decision.